The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly on Thursday resoundingly rejected a resolution that would have encouraged the Legislature to fully fund the PFD in accordance with state statute.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is expected to sign an operating budget today, but a July special session has been called so the Legislature can address a stalemate over PFD payments.
Introduced by Assemblyman Aaron Lojewski, the resolution cites numerous reasons, some based on Alaska’s Constitution, why residents should receive a full PFD.
First and foremost, the development, utilization and conservation of all the state’s natural resources shall be “for the maximum benefit of its people.”
The resolution goes on to state that any cuts to the dividend “are the most regressive form of taxation.”
Furthermore, Lojewski’s resolution states that dividend payments per statutory formula are “sustainable in perpetuity because only 50% of profits are paid out to Alaskans.”
Lojewski correctly predicted that he would be the only assembly member to vote in favor of his resolution, which he said was drafted in large part from books about former Gov. Jay Hammond.
“I will be pleasantly surprised if even one of you votes ‘yes’ on this tonight,” he remarked.
Lojewski said cutting the PFD is the worst way to pay for state services because “it is essentially a tax that is borne 100% by Alaskans.”
Alternatively, income, sales or property taxes would have out-of-state contributors.
Assemblyman Shaun Tacke provided the only other comment of the night while engaging in a brief back-and-forth with Lojewski.
Tacke said the state should consider all options for the fiscal crisis, and asked Lojewski whether his support for full dividends means he supports broad-based taxes.
Lojewski replied that he does not support new taxes, and instead advocates for reductions in state spending coupled with using the other 50% of profits for government funding.
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